From Santa Monica to the San Gabriel Valley, a new wave of brewery tasting rooms has opened. Here are four to keep an eye on.
Santa Monica Brew Works
Located just two miles from the Santa Monica Pier (and only a couple of blocks from an Expo Line train station), Santa Monica Brew Works is the first craft brewery tasting room in Santa Monica, and with room for more than 100 visitors, the spacious expansion to the production brewery is a welcome addition to the neighborhood. Ten beers were available on a recent visit to the tasting room, which opened in mid-September: the five core SMBC brews, and five seasonal and one-offs (including a light and refreshing saison). If you've got a sweet tooth, don't miss the PCH "golden porter" that's chocolatey and nutty — there's also a version with coffee that balances the sweetness. Food trucks park in the lot on the weekend, and while growler fills are not yet available (they are coming soon), you can get cans of a few SMBW brews to go. 1920 Colorado Ave., Unit C, Santa Monica, (310) 828-7629, santamonicabrewworks.com.
The new brewery and tasting room in the Elysian Valley neighborhood known as Frogtown, located just a few hundred feet from the Los Angeles River Greenway Trail, opened Oct. 1. . Long communal tables, lots of reclaimed wood and an eclectic collection of pieces from local artists fill the space. The highlight of the four beers left on tap after the grand opening celebration was the bright and hoppy Feather It In session IPA. There is also a home brew supply shop attached to the brewery and tasting room in case you need some ingredients or equipment for cooking up brews at home. 2931 Gilroy St., Los Angeles, (323) 452-2739, frogtownbrewery.com.
Torrance — Cosmic Brewery
If Cosmic Brewery sounds familiar, it's because the company isn't new, but the Torrance brewery is. Cosmic Brewery's Hell Hound Brown and Cosmonaut California Blonde Ale have been available in bottles for a while. Cosmic Brewery's co-founder and brewer Christopher Briles was a "gypsy brewer" who contracted with established brewers to make his brand's beer. Now, Briles has a brewery of his own, right in the middle of L.A.'s thriving South Bay beer scene. And the Cosmic Brewery tasting room is just yards away form two Torrance favorites: Smog City Brewing and Monkish. 20316 Gramercy Place, Torrance, (424) 259-2337, www.cosmicbrewery.com.
The newest brewery tasting room in the San Gabriel Valley, Progress Brewing in South El Monte already offers more than a dozen brews ranging from a blond ale to sour beers and a trio of fresh-hopped IPAs. Many brews are available for growler and crowler fills, and the tasting room is proudly dog- and kid-friendly. 1822 Chico Ave., South El Monte, (626) 552-9603, www.progress-brewing.com.